Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pasta Primavera

This dish is perfect for summer, whether it be for a little picnic outside or for a fancy get together dinner with your friends. The colors from all the veggies are so bright and although this pasta maybe be a bit simple, it is loaded with flavor.

Serves 6

* 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
* 2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
* 2 squashes, thinly sliced
* 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
* 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin stripes
* 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin stripes
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 Tb dried Italian herbs
* 1 lb bow tie pasta
* 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese                                        

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. In a large heavy baking sheet, toss all the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy baking sheet and arrange evenly. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown. Stir after the first ten minutes and allow it to bake for 20 minutes total.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

4. Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture in a large bowl to combine. Toss with cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pasta with Basil Cilantro Pesto and Peas

It's been so long since I've last blogged. I've been so busy and haven't really had time to update this. But I have a couple recipes I wanted to share with you guys. Hopefully I'll have them all up within the next few days. So basically, this recipe is from Veganomicon but I added vegan mayo and a couple other ingredients to make the pesto richer. I hope you enjoy!

Basil Cilantro Pesto
* 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
* 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro 
* 1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds
* 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
* 2 Tb fresh lemon juice ( from about 1/2 lemon )
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Place the basil, cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and blend until pasty, scraping down the sides occasionally.

2. With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until relatively smooth and no large chunks of almonds are left. If you don't have a food processor and are using a blender, then just add the olive oil at the end, since many blenders aren't equipped with an opening to drizzle into.

Pasta Ingredients
* 3/4 lb fusilli pasta
* 3/4 lb bow tie pasta
* 1/4 cup good olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups pesto ( see recipe above )
* 1 ( 10 ounce ) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
* 3 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1 1/4 cups Veganonise mayonnaise
* 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan
* 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
* 1/3 cup pignoli, optional ( pine nuts )
* 3/4 tsp kosher salt
* 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, 
peas, pignoli, salt and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Veggie Pasta Salad

Okay nevermind what I just said in the last post. The weather is back up to 80 degrees today and instead of warm soup, cold pasta is what I am craving today.

The meal is super quick to make and won't require you to spend too much time in front of the stove. This recipe makes a whole lot of pasta, so if you're not feeding a lot of people, you might want to divide this recipe in half.

Serves 4 to 6

* 1 1lb corkscrew pasta
* 1 lb asparagus
* 2 Tb dijon mustard
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( about one lemon )
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill leaves
* 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse and set aside.

2. In another large pot of boiling salted water, add the asparagus and blanch until bright green and slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock in icy cold water.

3. Remove from the water and dry well. Trim the ends of the asparagus and cut into bite sized pieces.

4. Whisk together the mustard, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Combine the reserved asparagus and pasta in a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, dill, peas and mustard dressing. Toss with tongs to coat the salad well. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Minestrone Soup

After having the past couple of weeks in the high 70s, the weather is finally starting to dip down and feel more like winter here in California.

I chose to make minestrone soup for lunch today but with a slight twist. I added swiss chard and pureed cannellini beans, to help thicken the soup. Serve this with a slice of bread and a light green salad to complete the meal.

Serves 4 to 6

* 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
* 1 yellow onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 2 celery stalks, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 lb swiss chard, stems trimmed and leaves roughly chopped
* 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 1 ( 14 1/2 ounce ) can diced tomatoes
* 1 fresh rosemary sprig
* 1 ( 15 ounce ) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
* 28 ounces vegetable broth or vegan "beef" broth ( try Better than Bouillon brand )
* salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Add swiss chard and potatoes, saute for 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, blend 3/4 of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture and remaining broth to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

5. Stir in the whole beans. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. ( Beware of adding too much salt because some stocks contains more than enough sodium ).

6. Discard the rosemary sprig, the leaves will have fallen off the stem.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a crusty piece of bread.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hungarian Paprikash

I feel like it's been forever since I've done a blog post. Last year was just so crazy and I am finally finding the time again to get out my camera and share some vegan recipes.

Anyone ever tried Paprikash before? It's one of Hungary's most famous stews and consists of some form of protein ( in this case, portobello mushrooms ), peppers, onions, paprika and sour cream. Traditionally this meal would be served over egg noodles but trying to keep it vegan and also healthy, any wide whole wheat pasta noodle will do.

Printer Friendly Recipe Here

Serves 4 to 6

* 1 large red bell pepper
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 4 large portobello mushroom caps, gills scrapped, wiped clean and chopped into bite sized pieces
* 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 1 carrot, peeled and chopped or grated
* 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
* 2 Tb sweet paprika or smoked sweet paprika
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 2 cups vegetable broth or "chicken" broth ( try Better than Bouillon Faux Chicken broth )
* 1 Tb vegan worcestershire sauce
* 2 to 3 Tb vegan sour cream
* 8 ounces fettuccine noodles, cooked and drained according to directions on packet
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, chives or dill

1. Char the bell pepper on the stove top or under the broiler with the oven door cracked for the steam to escape. Place the charred pepper in a plastic bag and allow it to cool. Scrape or peel the skin from the pepper, then seed and thinly slice.

2. Heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown 12 to 15 minutes until darkened and tender.

3. Add the jalapeno peppers, onion, carrot, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook to soften 10 minutes more.

4. Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and stir for 1 minute.

5. Add the stock, worcestershire sauce and roasted red bell pepper. Simmer a few minutes for the flavors to combine.

6. Lower flame to medium low and add the sour cream. Mix well.

***Serve Paprikash in shallow bowls on a bed of noodles.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon bread! Not to be confused with cinnamon buns, this bread is perfect for toasting and serving with a little Earth Balance or go the extra mile and make some French Toast with this stuff. So much better than using plain white or whole wheat bread. This recipe requires very little work but a lot of time, due to it needing to be proofed twice. But trust me, it is definitively worth all that extra time because you cannot even compare how this tastes to that store bought stuff.

Makes 1 loaf

* 1 cup non-dairy milk
* 6 Tb vegan margarine ( I used Earth Balance )
* 1 packet dry active yeast or 2 1/2 tsp
* 2 Tb grounded flax seeds, dissolved in 6 Tb water
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 Tb cinnamon
* 1 Tb vegan margarine, for brushing
* about 2 Tb vegan margarine, for greasing the loaf pan

1. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the milk until warm but not boiling. It should be at about 115 F. Sprinkle yeast over the top, gently stir and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar with the flax seeds until well combined. Pour the milk/margarine/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add the rest of the flour and beat to combine.

4. Switch to the dough hook and allow it to knead for about 10 minutes. If the dough is still too sticky, add another 1/4 cup of flour and knead for another 5 minutes.

5. Drizzle a little canola oil in a medium sized mixing bowl, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

6. Turn the dough onto a work surface and roll it out to a rectangle no wider than the loaf pan and about 18 inches long. Smear 2 Tb of melted margarine. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.

7. Starting at one end, roll the dough toward you, keeping it neat and tight. Pinch the seam to seal.

8. Smear your loaf pan with butter. Place dough, seam side down, in the pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow it to rise for another 2 hours in a warm place.

9. Preheat oven to 350F. Brush the top of the loaf with 1 Tb of melted margarine and bake for 40 minutes.

10. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice and serve!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Vegan Condensed Milk

I know we still have awhile until Thanksgiving but I just love pumpkin pie and I enjoy baking it year round. I usually make mine with tofu, which comes out okay but doesn't taste exactly like how I remember pumpkin pie to be. I decided to convert a regular dairy pumpkin pie recipe to a vegan one. The only challenge was making a vegan version of sweetened condensed milk. The secret to this is soy milk powder, which I found at Whole Foods. The condensed milk makes a world of difference and now I can't even tell that this pie is vegan!

Sweetened Condensed Milk
* 3/4 cup water
* 3/4 cup dry soy milk powder ( Try Better than Milk brand )
* 6 Tb non-dairy margarine
* 1 1/2 cups vegan sugar

Pumpkin Pie Mix
* 1 ( 15 ounce ) can of pumpkin puree ( not pumpkin pie mix )
* 1 recipe of vegan sweetened condensed milk ( equal to 14 ounces )
* 2 Tb cornstarch
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/2 tsp ground ginger
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 9" unbaked pie crust or 12 mini pie crusts

First make the condensed milk...

1. In a small saucepan, mix together the water and soy milk powder under medium heat until boiling. Turn off heat and set aside.

2. In another small saucepan, melt the butter under medium heat. Slowly whisk in the sugar until its all incorporated.

3. Add the hot milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 F...

4. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, cornstarch, spices and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

5. Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 F and bake for another hour or until a knife inserted one inch from the crust comes out clean. Cool and store in the refrigerator.